Jenn Herman
September 22, 2017
Instagram Myths Debunked

In this article, Jenn Herman discusses and debunks 4 common Instagram myths. It is another in our “Great Articles You may have missed” series.

Instagram Myths Debunked

Unfortunately, all too often, something gets said in a popular publication and it gains viral steam across the blogosphere. Many times this information is not quite accurate, or even completely off base. Sometimes, it’s just because it’s new information and we don’t know for sure what’s really going on, so someone makes a hypothesis and then it sticks, long after it’s proven wrong.

When it comes to social media, and Instagram too, these theories spread like wild fire and everyone believes them to be the absolute truth. So today I’m here to personally debunk four very common Instagram myths that have circulated recently.

I have personally tested each of these and have coordinated with people around the world to test these theories. I have researched for any proof of them to be true. And in each case, my findings below show these theories to be false.

Now, a disclaimer, these things could always evolve. What is “not true” today could become a legitimate effect in the future. Instagram is always evolving and things are always changing. As always, I share the latest news and updates in my exclusive Instagram community, on my Instagram account, or in my Facebook group. You are welcome to follow along or join any of these resources to stay up to date on changes as they happen in real time.

Myth #1: Posting Daily Boosts Your Engagement

With recent changes to the Instagram algorithm, a lot of people are noticing drops in engagement (likes and comments) and they are readily jumping to any theory that will boost their engagement.

I have consistently preached the value of posting LESS frequently on Instagram (3-5 times per week) so when I heard that a recent study showed posting every day actually boosted engagement, I had to see for myself.

To be fair, I’d be happy to be proven wrong and see a new tactic show improved engagement. But I was unable to prove this theory true.

In those instances we studied, we saw no significant impact to engagement when posting daily.

I still hold true to my theory that posting less frequently, but sharing better content, is the best strategy right now.

Myth #2: Watching Stories Impacts the Regular Feed Algorithm

Ever since introducing the algorithm to Instagram, marketers have started looking for ways to ensure their content appears higher in the feed of their audience. The latest theory suggests that if a user watches your Instagram Stories frequently, your regular Instagram posts will appear higher in the feed.

Again, I had this tested out by multiple people and it was mostly proven false.

For me, watching Stories made absolutely no impact on those same accounts and where they appeared in my feed. Another user I had test this did see a slight bump in one account, but they also hadn’t posted a regular Instagram post in a relatively long period of time, so their first post again (even though regularly sharing Stories), was likely to appear high in the feed regardless of the impact of the Stories views.

However, I can say that interaction with Stories will impact which Stories appear first in that list of users. As I started watching 3 accounts’ Stories regularly, they are now still frequently the first ones in my list of Stories. So, yes there is an impact to viewing Stories, but not on the regular feed.

Myth #3: Banned Hashtags Ruin All Hashtags

It was proposed somewhere, somehow that if you use one banned hashtag in your list of hashtags, then all of your hashtags are rendered useless. This myth gained steam more than most and has been repeated more times than I could possibly account.

But, it is a myth.

Using a banned hashtag is a wasted hashtag because it does nothing for you in search, but it won’t negatively impact you in any other way. So you can calm down and go about your regular hashtag usage.

Myth #4: You’re Being Shadow Banned

I’ve talked about this now a bunch of times so I won’t regurgitate it all here.

Here are a few notes from the blog post Have You Been Shadow Banned on Instagram?

  • Shadow banning is the theory that a post you share will be blocked from appearing in hashtag searches
  • You and people who are following you will see your posts in hashtags but other people will not
  • It is assumed that it only applies to business profiles
  • There are theories that using the same hashtags repeatedly will get you shadow banned

Now, if you look at my wording, I chose it carefully. These are theories. There is no categorical proof that this is happening for the reasons suggested.

And overall, I can tell you that what you think about shadow banning is most likely all a myth.

In Conclusion

If I can stress anything, it’s to do your research and listen to trusted sources in the industry. When changes happen in social media, a lot of voices are quick to jump in with opinions – many of which are often completely not validated. Honestly, this is why I don’t often post about changes immediately (I waited months to fully explain shadow banning publicly because I was busy testing and researching before making public statements). Please don’t rush to conclusions, even when the big name publications throw out theories (like Forbes or Inc. who I have no issue with except that this area is not their forte and they rush to publish information). Instead, listen to the leaders in the actual social media space and ask questions.

Over To You

Can you think of any other “common knowledge” on Instagram that is in fact myth? Please share!


Originally titled “Debunking 4 Common Instagram Myths” on, this article is republished here with permission

Featured image: Copyright: ‘‘ / 123RF Stock Photo

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Jenn Herman is a social media strategist and Instagram advocate who writes a blog focused on understanding trends in social media management. She provides tips, resources, and training for small to medium sized businesses that need to structure their social media strategies for success. Her business background includes Administration, Sales, Human Resources, and Marketing. If you would like to learn more about how to use Instagram, you can download "The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Instagram" here.